Satisfy the senses with these seductive sips
There are three keys to making a sensuous cocktail: First, it should look bright, attractive, sleek, or curvy. Second, the ingredients must invoke some visceral sense-either with palate-tickling fruit or earthy accents from herbaceous spirits. And finally, the name has got to suggest passion, seemingly begging to be consumed. These five drinks fulfill the mission nicely.
Vodka and cranberry have been a pair on numerous occasions (most notably in the Cosmo). In this drink, orange juice smoothes out the flavor of the tart cranberry. To avoid making an overly sweet Kool-Aid-like concoction, try using unsweetened cranberry juice or adding more OJ. The amaretto contributes sweet almond flavors (you may have seen the Disaronno Originale brand on liquor shelves) and adds yet more alcohol. Beware: This Kiss packs quite a punch.
Bombay Sliders with Garlic Curry Sauce
Cranberry and turkey are a proven pair. The sliders make for sexy finger food.
Frisée Salad, Blue Cheese, Walnut, Cranberry Crostini
When love is in the air, sometimes you just want the fastest, easiest dish possible. This one plays with the cranberry theme.
Italian Aperol, an orangey aperitif that is the base of this drink, lends a provocative bite that can make the cocktail quite bitter (thus the name). You can toy with the flavor balance by adding more or less sugar and by adjusting the dilution: Serve it chilled for full force or on the rocks to mellow it out. Either way, the luscious red color beckons for a second and third sip. Ideal as an aperitif before a meal.
Grilled Citrus Chicken Under a Brick
This recipe juxtaposes various flavors, including citrus juices (orange, lemon, and lime), and has its own bitterness in the form of lightly charred skin.
Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas
Like the drink, this dish has citrus (lemon juice and zest) and sweetness (from the peas), and it won't splash on your date like soup or spaghetti.
If bright-red drinks don't communicate the seductive subtlety you were striving for, consider this variation on a martini. The Fever plays up some alluring, exotic flavors, combining a nutty spiciness with a sexy hint of anise. By adding Dubonnet Rouge, which contains red wine, the drink achieves a touch of pink. As a whole, it's dry enough to pair with many foods, and simple enough to stir up at a moment's notice.
Fennel- and Dill-Rubbed Grilled Salmon
The fennel cloaking the salmon echoes the drink's anisette and won't overwhelm the Fever's other flavors.
Green Olives Stuffed with Chili Almonds
The quasi-martini finally gets its olives-and another set of spices-to counter the drink's strong botanicals.
"Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee" goes the famous expression (a classic example of Muhammad Ali braggadocio). He could have been talking about this variation on a classic drink: The scent floats across the nose with enchanting floral aromas thanks to the addition of lavender. Lemon and honey create a deceptive sweetness; the gin kicks in soon enough.
Cheese Tart Pairing:
Herbed Goat Cheese Tart
The goat cheese contrasts the floral sweetness of the drink, but there are hints of lavender in the dish's mixed herbs, too.
Honey-Gingered Pork Tenderloins
Similar flavors (honey and ginger) tie the dish and drink, and you could add lime to both to marry the sensations even more.
Champagne cocktails are, by their very nature, celebratory. The rising bubbles function not just as eye candy but as palate stimulants, and the alcohol in carbonated cocktails enters the bloodstream faster than in noncarbonized ones. This version of the classic French 75 adds complexity in the form of bitters, an element that goes well with the blood oranges that make up the drink's pulp. Serve it before a romantic meal or the day after, with brunch.
Oysters with Champagne-Vinegar Mignonette
This slurp-worthy and celebrated pairing ( Champagne and oysters) benefits from the mix of sweet, briny, and vinegary flavors.
The dessert is relatively light and easy to make (and digest), and offers a hot-cold contrast with the drink.
By James Oliver Cury
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